In mid-August 2023, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) plans to conduct a field inspection in coconut growing areas and fresh coconut packaging facilities in Vietnam to consider allowing official exports to China.

According to The Plant Protection Department – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the GACC recommended conducting a field inspection of growing areas and packaging facilities for exports. It is to complete the risk assessment of diseases to fresh coconut and serve as a basis for signing the Protocol.

Specifically, the GACC will conduct their inspections in mid-August 2023 via online combined with field inspection and document check.

Ben Tre coconut has been granted geographical indications by the Ministry of Science and Technology since 2018 and become a potential export item.

The main inspection contents of GACC include the system of pest control and prevention on coconut in growing areas and packaging facilities, harvest process, transport, and packaging for exports.

To have a good preparation for the field inspection, the Plant Protection Department proposed that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the provinces and cities coordinate with the local Plant Protection Department to arrange resources available during the process of this inspection.

Technical staff should participate in guiding and supporting the growing areas and the packaging facilities for online inspection at the request of GACC. At the same time, they have to prepare technical documents related to the management and prevention of harmful organisms as required by GACC. In addition, packaging facilities that have an export demand should be reviewed.

The Departments need to inform and instruct growing areas and packaging facilities to complete relevant documents and prepare all conditions to participate in online inspection at the request of the GACC.

All technical documents of the Department of Crop and Plant Protection, fresh coconut growing areas, and packaging facilities must be translated into English or Chinese and sent to the Department of Plant Protection before August 05 to synthesize and send to the GACC.

After the inspection, China will carry out a risk assessment process and propose appropriate import requirements to develop a protocol for coconut imports from Vietnam.

It is known that China’s demand annually amounts to about 2.6 billion coconuts, while Hainan Island – the main coconut producer in China, only provides 250 million coconuts each year. In addition, China also needs 1.5 billion coconuts for processing, so the gap is huge. Demand is large while domestic production only meets about 10% of the market demand. As a result, China’s coconut imports are increasing.

China consumed 2.6 billion coconuts from Vietnam.

It is estimated that Vietnam has more than 180,000 ha of agricultural land used for coconut cultivation. Coconut trees are grown mostly in the Central Coast provinces and the Mekong Delta such as Tra Vinh and Ben Tre. Vietnam currently ranks 7th in coconut production worldwide.

In Ben Tre alone, vast coconut farms are concentrated in the western districts of the province such as Chau Thanh, Cho Lach, Mo Cay, and Giong Trom. The total area of coconut cultivation in the province is over 72,000 ha now with a production of over 612 million.

Thanks to technological innovation, the quality of coconut products has been improved. This has been helping the industrial production value of coconut products reach about 3,300 billion VND/year, accounting for over 12% of the province’s industrial production value.

To be able to export fresh coconuts to China smoothly, Vietnamese enterprises have invested in building a number of organic coconut farms and so far, more than 7,000 ha of coconuts have been certified organic./.